Members of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's CCP virus advisory team have laid out key parts of the strategy they would pursue if Biden is ultimately certified as the winner of the contested 2020 presidential election.
Another component of the strategy is to stress mask-wearing, with Gawande blaming opposition to facial coverings for both elevating the risk of virus spread and hurting the economy.
"When a person goes into a store and does not wear a mask, when they go to a public gathering and they’re not wearing a mask, they’re hurting everyone’s freedom," Gawande said. "They are putting people in danger."
"Moreover, they are turning people away from shops and stores and that’s hurting jobs," he said. "That is the critical mix of things.
"Opposing masks is like opposing washing hands, it’s not political," Gawande said. "We can pull together. We can do this."
"One thing I really want to emphasize is when you get to numbers that are this bad, the most immediate thing that we can do to reduce the spread, it actually lies in our behavior and the choices that we make," Murthy said. "It turns out that wearing masks, keeping our distance from others, washing our hands, these seem almost too simple, but very powerful in actually reducing the spread."
Murthy added that Biden's plan for curbing the spread of the virus involves expanding testing capacity, increasing contact tracing, ramping up the production of personal protective equipment, and issuing guidance.
Biden "wants to really put clear guidance together, evidence-based guidance, so that schools and businesses, but also state organizations, huge sports leagues, and families know how to operate safely," Murthy said.
Meanwhile, several of Biden's advisers have rejected the notion of a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the virus, calling instead for a more nuanced and targeted approach.
“The way we should be thinking about this is more like a series of restrictions that we dial up or down, depending on how bad spread is taking place in a specific region," Murthy said. "In New York City, for example, what you're seeing is them target their interventions down to the ZIP code.
"So we're not in a place where we're saying shut the whole country down. We’ve got to be more targeted," he said. "If we don't do that, what you're going to find is that people will become even more fatigued, schools won't be open to children, and the economy will be hit harder."
“As a group, really the consensus is that we need a more nuanced approach,” said Gounder, who is an infectious disease specialist at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine. “We can be much more targeted geographically. We can also be more targeted in terms of what we close.
“I think of this as a dimmer switch, not an on-and-off light switch,” she said. “I think we need to close only those things that really are contributing to the spread, and really try to ... as much as possible remain open, like schools, if they’re not contributing to the spread,” Gounder added.
Biden, at a town hall ahead of the election, said he didn't think there would be a need for a lockdown, but added that he would listen to scientific advisers.
Murthy, in his remarks to Fox News, called a nationwide lockdown "a measure of last resort."
"We've got to approach this with the precision of a scalpel rather than the blunt force of an ax," he said.